The Forest Inventory and Analysis Database: Database description and users manual version 4.0 for Phase 2.
Applicability: In-depth users manual for FIA data. It does a great job of making the reader aware of what type of data can be generated from FIA/FIDO/eVALIDATOR, as well as some detailed instructions on how to generate specific stand-level estimates.
Authors: Woudenberg, Sharon W.; Conkling, Barbara L.; O'Connell, Barbara M.; LaPoint, Elizabeth B.; Turner, Jeffery A.; Waddell, Karen L. RMRS-GTR-245 - 2010
Abstract: This document is based on previous documentation of the nationally standardized Forest Inventory and Analysis database (Hansen and others 1992; Woudenberg and Farrenkopf 1995; Miles and others 2001). Documentation of the structure of the Forest Inventory and Analysis database (FIADB) for Phase 2 data, as well as codes and definitions, is provided. Examples for producing population level estimates are also presented. This database provides a consistent framework for storing forest inventory data across all ownerships for the entire United States. These data are available to the public.
Scope and scale: Variable depending on the FIA output.
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_gtr245.html
Forest Inventory and Analysis
Applicability: Through FIDO, the FIA Data Mart, and eValidator, users can generate extensive information regarding vegetation type, species, invasive species, etc. This information can then be synthesized into the assessment framework of composition, structure, function, and connectivity. Information updated annually.
Description: The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program of the U.S. Forest Service provides the information needed to assess America's forests.
As the Nation's continuous forest census, our program projects how forests are likely to appear 10 to 50 years from now. This enables us to evaluate whether current forest management practices are sustainable in the long run and to assess whether current policies will allow the next generation to enjoy America's forests as we do today.
FIA reports on status and trends in forest area and location; in the species, size, and health of trees; in total tree growth, mortality, and removals by harvest; in wood production and utilization rates by various products; and in forest land ownership.
Scope and Scale: Variable depending on the FIA output.
Internet Address: http://www.fia.fs.fed.us/tools-data/default.asp
Field Sampled Vegetation
Applicability: A Natural Resource Manager tool. It also includes a spatial version that is currently being developed. Accessing the data requires eAuthentication. Each forest should have a "primary resource steward" who is familiar with this product and what it can generate. You can work with your local Forest Service partner to view this resource.
Description: Field Sampled Vegetation (FSVeg) stores data about trees, fuels, down woody material, surface cover, and understory vegetation. FSVeg supports the business of common stand exam, fuels data collection, permanent grid inventories, and other vegetation inventory collection processes.
Scope and scale: Stand-level and up.
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/nrm/fsveg/index.shtml
National Inventory and Monitoring Applications Center
Applicability: A clearinghouse for forest-level reports and data, maintained by the Northern Research Station. Includes reports on the forests of different states as well as climate and carbon information. NIMAC only includes data on certain states in Regions 1 and 2.
Description: The National Inventory and Monitoring Applications Center (NIMAC) is a program with national scope, based at the headquarters office of the US Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. We originated from within the Northern Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (FIA) in 2006, and are comprised of staff with expertise in biometry, statistics, geospatial technology, computer programming, databases, forestry field methods, and forestry data analysis covering much of the range of FIA itself.
Scope and Scale: Typically state-wide.
Internet Address: http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/nimac/
Natural Resource Manager
Applicability: Relevant NRM applications include: Air, aquatic surveys, FSVeg, FSVeg spatial, Inventory and mapping, Rangeland inventory and monitoring, timber, TESP/IS (threatened, endangered, and sensitive plants/invasive species), watershed classification and assessment tracking tool (WCATT), watershed improvement tracking (WIT), water rights and uses (WRU), and wildlife. You can work with your local Forest Service partner to view this resource.
Description: Natural Resource Manager (NRM) is a national Forest Service organization that is responsible for coordinating software development activities for four application groups whose data are accessible through the NRM platform or the Enterprise Data Center (EDC):
- Forest Service Activity Tracking System (FACTS)
- Natural Resource Information System (NRIS)
- Timber Information Manager (TIM)
These applications often intersect in how they collect and share data and in how they develop software and use technology. NRM finds ways to manage and grow these applications efficiently, and has already begun to standardize the processes used to develop an integrated program of work. NRM also will be looking for effective ways to use resources to reduce duplication of effort and to maximize technology investments.
Scope and scale: Variable depending on report generated.
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/nrm/
Spatial Patterns of Land Cover in the United States: A Technical Document Supporting the Forest Service 2010 RPA Assessment
Applicability: Useful for looking at connectivity of ecosystems. It can also be helpful for assessment area 14.
Author: Kurt H. Riitters SRS-GTR-136
Abstract: Land cover patterns inventoried from a national land cover map provide information about the landscape context and fragmentation of the Nation’s forests, grasslands, and shrublands. This inventory is required to quantify, map, and evaluate the capacities of landscapes to provide ecological goods and services sustainably. This report documents the procedures to inventory and summarize land cover composition, juxtaposition, and structure as exhibited at several measurement scales. National and regional results are summarized in tabular form, and representative statistics are illustrated in figures (for States) and maps (for counties). The baseline information in this inventory is a starting point for future analyses of landscape changes.
Scope and Scale: Regional.
Internet Address: http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/37766
Montana’s forest resources, 20032009.
Applicability: Extensive information on terrestrial ecosystems, specifically forests and vegetation information, in the state of Montana.
Authors: Menlove, Jim; Shaw, John D.; Thompson, Michael T.; Witt, Chris; Amacher, Michael C.; Morgan, Todd A.; Sorenson, Colin; McIver, Chelsea; Werstak, Charles.
Abstract: This report presents a summary of the most recent inventory information for Montana’s forest lands. The report includes descriptive highlights and tables of area, number of trees, biomass, volume, growth, mortality, and removals. Most of the tables are organized by forest type group, species group, diameter class, or owner group. The report also describes inventory design, inventory terminology, and data reliability. Results show that Montana’s forest land totals 25.6 million acres. Sixty percent (15.4 million acres) of this forest land is administered by the USDA Forest Service. Douglas-fir forests cover 7.5 million acres or roughly 29 percent of Montana’s forested lands, making it the most abundant forest type in the State. The lodgepole pine type is the second-most common individual forest type comprising 17 percent of Montana’s forest land. Lodgepole pine is the most abundant tree species in Montana by number of trees, and Douglas-fir is the most abundant species by volume or biomass. Net annual growth of all live trees 5.0 inches diameter and greater on Montana forest land totaled 289.8 million cubic feet. Average annual mortality totaled nearly 746.3 million cubic feet.
Scope and Scale: State-wide.
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_rb015.html
Idaho’s Forest Resources, 20042009
Applicability: Extensive information on terrestrial ecosystems, specifically forests and vegetation information, in the state of Idaho.
Authors: Witt, Chris; Shaw, John D.; Thompson, Michael T.; Goeking, Sara A.; Menlove, Jim; Amacher, Michael C.; Morgan, Todd A.; Werstak, Charles. RMRS-RB-14 2012
Abstract: This report presents a summary of the most recent inventory information for Idaho’s forest lands. The report includes descriptive highlights and tables of area, number of trees, biomass, volume, growth, mortality, and removals. Most of the tables are organized by forest type, species, diameter class, or owner group. The report also describes inventory design, inventory terminology, and data reliability. Results show that Idaho’s forest land totals 21.4 million acres. Nearly 76 percent (16.2 million acres) of this forest land is administered by the USDA Forest Service. Douglas-fir forests cover almost 6.3 million acres or roughly 29 percent of Idaho’s forested lands, making it the most abundant forest type in the State. The lodgepole pine type is the second-most common type comprising 11.5 percent of Idaho’s forest land. In terms of number of individual trees, subalpine fir is the single most abundant tree species in Idaho. Net annual growth of all live trees 5.0 inches diameter and greater on Idaho forest land totaled 376.2 million cubic feet. Average annual mortality totaled nearly 814.6 million cubic feet.
Scope and Scale: State-wide
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_rb014.html
Colorado’s forest resources, 2002-2006
Applicability: Extensive information on terrestrial ecosystems, specifically forests and vegetation information, in the state of Colorado.
Authors: Thompson, Michael T.; Duda, Joseph A.; DeBlander, Larry T.; Shaw, John D.; Witt, Chris; Morgan, Todd A.; Amacher, Michael C.
Abstract: This report presents a summary of the most recent inventory information for Colorado’s forest lands. The report includes descriptive highlights and tables of area, number of trees, biomass, volume, growth, mortality, and removals. Most of the tables are organized by forest type, species, diameter class, or owner group. The report also describes inventory design, inventory terminology, and data reliability. Results show that Colorado’s forest land totals 23 million acres. Nearly 50 percent of this forest land is administered by the USDA Forest Service. Pinyon-juniper forests cover over 5.5 million acres whereas forest comprised of fir, spruce, and hemlock comprise 24 percent of Colorado’s forest land. Aspen is the single most abundant tree species in Colorado. Net annual growth of all live trees 5.0 inches diameter and greater on Colorado forest land totaled 219.6 million cubic feet. Average annual mortality totaled nearly 421.0 million cubic feet.
Scope and scale: State-wide
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_rb011.html
Utah’s forest resources, 20002005
Applicability: Extensive information on terrestrial ecosystems, specifically forests and vegetation information, in the state of Utah
Authors: DeBlander, Larry T.; Shaw, John D.; Witt, Chris; Menlove, Jim; Thompson, Michael T.; Morgan, Todd A.; DeRose, R. Justin; Amacher, Michael C.
Abstract: FIA is responsible for periodic assessments of the status and trends of the renewable resources of America’s forests. Fundamental to the accomplishment of these assessments are the State-by-State resource inventories, which are now conducted on an annual basis. This report summarizes the results, interpretations, and future significance of Utah’s annual inventory. The organization and layout of this report begins with a short introduction of FIA’s annual inventory system and then a detailed description of its inventory methods. After an overview of the report tables, the bulk of the report is contained in the “Forest Resources” and “Current Issues” and “FIA Indicators” sections, and finishes with a discussion of Utah’s Timber Products. The “Forest Resources” section is outlined similar to past periodic reports for ease of comparisons. The “Current Issues” and “FIA Indicators” sections cover topics considered pertinent to Utah’s forests relative to the information FIA collects, and points to other related or more in-depth studies and research.
Scope and scale: State-wide.
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_rb010.html
Risk of impaired condition of watersheds containing National Forest lands
Applicability: A technical document supporting the RPA. This publication looks at stressors, so could also be useful in assessment area 3. It includes both a nationwide assessment as well as spreadsheets with more detailed information.
Authors: Brown, Thomas C.; Froemke, Pamela. RMRS-GTR-251
Abstract: We assessed the risk of impaired condition of the nearly 3700 5th-level watersheds in the contiguous 48 states containing the national forests and grasslands that make up the U.S. Forest Service’s National Forest System (NFS). The assessment was based on readily available, relatively consistent nationwide data sets for a series of indicators representing watershed stressors and resources at risk of watershed impairment. Using a set of weights that express the relative importance of the indicators, a summary measure of relative risk of watershed impairment was computed for each entire watershed, each NFS part of each watershed, and each non-NFS part of each watershed. The summary measure reflects the assumption that indicators are linearly related to risk of watershed impairment. The orderings based on these measures provide a first-cut at a consistent nationwide comparison of watersheds with NFS land. Users of the spreadsheets that contain the detailed results of the assessment may alter the weights according to their own understanding of the relative importance of the indicators, producing their own ratings and rankings. Among other things, we find that the non-NFS parts of the watersheds are consistently under much greater stress than the NFS parts, but that the resources at risk are more evenly spread across the NFS and non-NFS parts of the watersheds; and that risk is unevenly spread across the NFS, with most units in the two eastern regions at higher risk than nearly all units in the western regions. The results of this assessment offer a starting point for deciding about risk mitigation efforts, one that could be supplemented by locally available data on additional indicators and by a comparison of the costs and benefits of mitigation options.
Scope and Scale: National and county-wide data included.
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_gtr251.html
Cumulative watershed effects of fuel management in the western United States
Applicability: This publication looks at water resources, aquatic ecosystems, and riparian zones. It also considers cumulative watershed impacts and analyzes the effects of management actions regarding fuel and their impacts on watersheds (could also be useful in assessment area 3). It includes more of a general overview and consideration of trends rather than information on specific locations.
Authors: Elliot, William J.; Miller, Ina Sue; Audin, Lisa. Eds.
Abstract: Fire suppression in the last century has resulted in forests with excessive amounts of biomass, leading to more severe wildfires, covering greater areas, requiring more resources for suppression and mitigation, and causing increased onsite and offsite damage to forests and watersheds. Forest managers are now attempting to reduce this accumulated biomass by thinning, prescribed fire, and other management activities. These activities will impact watershed health, particularly as larger areas are treated and treatment activities become more widespread in space and in time. Management needs, laws, social pressures, and legal findings have underscored a need to synthesize what we know about the cumulative watershed effects of fuel management activities. To meet this need, a workshop was held in Provo, Utah, on April, 2005, with 45 scientists and watershed managers from throughout the United States. At that meeting, it was decided that two syntheses on the cumulative watershed effects of fuel management would be developed, one for the eastern United States, and one for the western United States. For the western synthesis, 14 chapters were defined covering fire and forests, machinery, erosion processes, water yield and quality, soil and riparian impacts, aquatic and landscape effects, and predictive tools and procedures. We believe these chapters provide an overview of our current understanding of the cumulative watershed effects of fuel management in the western United States.
Scope and Scale: Regional Information
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_gtr231.html
Watershed Condition Classification Technical Guide
Applicability: This document provides and explains 12 different watershed condition classification indicators, which are primarily useful at the monitoring phase. It gives guidance on how to evaluate each of the indicators and provides valuable background information on how the watershed condition framework data are developed.
Authors: John P. Potyondy, Theodore W. Geier FS-978
Abstract: The watershed condition goal of the Forest Service is “to protect National Forest System watersheds by implementing practices designed to maintain or improve watershed condition, which is the foundation for sustaining ecosystems and the production of renewable natural resources, values, and benefits” (FSM 2520). U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack reemphasized this policy in his “Vision for the Forest Service” when he stated that achieving restoration of watershed and forest health would be the primary management objective of the Forest Service (USDA 2010). This Watershed Condition Classification Technical Guide helps to implement this policy objective by
- Establishing a systematic process for determining watershed condition class that all national forests can apply consistently.
- Improving Forest Service reporting and tracking of watershed condition.
- Strengthening the effectiveness of the Forest Service to maintain and restore the productivity and resilience of watersheds and their associated aquatic systems on NFS lands.
Scope and Scale: Procedural document.
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/publications/watershed/watershed_classification_guide.pdf
Watershed Condition Framework
Applicability: This document explains what the Watershed Condition Framework is, and how it classifies watershed condition. It also discusses the 12 indicators, which can be useful in monitoring, as well as restoration techniques that can be useful in the planning stage.
Abstract: The Watershed Condition Framework (WCF) is a comprehensive approach for proactively implementing integrated restoration on priority watersheds on national forests and grasslands. The WCF proposes to improve the way the Forest Service approaches watershed restoration by targeting the implementation of integrated suites of activities in those watersheds that have been identified as priorities for restoration. The WCF also establishes a nationally consistent reconnaissance-level approach for classifying watershed condition, using a comprehensive set of 12 indicators that are surrogate variables representing the underlying ecological, hydrological, and geomorphic functions and processes that affect watershed condition. Primary emphasis is on aquatic and terrestrial processes and conditions that Forest Service management activities can influence. The approach is designed to foster integrated ecosystem-based watershed assessments; target programs of work in watersheds that have been identified for restoration; enhance communication and coordination with external agencies and partners; and improve national-scale reporting and monitoring of program accomplishments. The WCF provides the Forest Service with an outcome-based performance measure for documenting improvement to watershed condition at forest, regional, and national scales
Scope and Scale: Procedural document.
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/publications/watershed/Watershed_Condition_Framework.pdf
Watershed Condition and Prioritization Interactive Map
Applicability: Builds off of the 12 watershed condition indicators. The tool includes regional maps, an interactive online map, and GIS data. Watersheds are shown visually as functioning properly, at risk, or impaired. The interactive map can also include a layer with forest boundaries or be searched by forest name, making it planning unit-level relevant. Once a watershed is selected, the tool will give an overview of the 12 indicators in that area. Data are also useful in assessment area 1.
Description: The results of the Forest Service Watershed Condition Framework planning work are available through a map viewer website where users can view the priority watersheds, read about why the watershed was selected, download the Watershed Restoration Action Plans and learn about other important planning items, including estimated costs and restoration partners. Each watershed on the map also contains information on the overall watershed condition rating and the individual rating of its 12 watershed condition indicators.
Scope and Scale: Planning unit, 12-digit HUC.
Internet Address: http://www.fs.fed.us/publications/watershed/
Stream Temperature Modeling and Monitoring
Applicability: Boise lab tool that provides dynamic information regarding aquatic ecosystems and habitat suitability. Focused on stream temperatures, which can affect a range of different fish species. Also useful for assessment area 5.
Description: Thermal regimes are important to aquatic ecosystems because they strongly dictate species distributions, productivity, and abundance. Inexpensive digital temperature loggers, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing technologies, and new spatial analyses are facilitating the development of temperature models and monitoring networks applicable at broad spatial scales. This web site provides a mapping tool to help those in the western US organize temperature monitoring efforts, describes techniques for measuring stream temperatures, and describes several statistical models for predicting stream temperatures and thermally suitable fish habitats from temperature data. The web site also provides links to other stream temperature resources such as publications, videos, and presentations on topics relating to thermal regimes in streams.
Scope and scale: Site-specific
Internet address: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/boise/AWAE/projects/stream_temperature.shtml
USGS Science in your Watershed
Applicability: User-friendly watershed information clearinghouse. Allows you to click down from national to regional to local watersheds and then presents you with a menu of "additional information" for that watershed in a series of links. Includes much of the same information as the USGS watershed mapping site, but presented in a different format. The tool also includes links to relevant EPA information for the watershed once it has been selected.
Description: The purpose of this site is to help you find scientific information organized on a watershed basis. This information, coupled with observations and measurements made by the watershed groups, provides a powerful foundation for characterizing, assessing, analyzing, and maintaining the status and health of a watershed.
Discussions with watershed groups across the country resulted in this web site. This web site provides access to:
- Locate Your Watershed - use the mapping interface to locate your watershed and link to additional information from your watershed.
- Information Discovery - find projects, publications, and databases related to your watershed.
- Data Integration - learn more about how you can use scientific data to understand your watershed
Scope and Scale: 8-digit HUC
Internet Address: http://water.usgs.gov/wsc/
Fish and other aquatic resource trends in the United States: A technical document supporting the Forest Service 2010 RPA Assessment.
Applicability: This publication gives a case-study approach, a national assessment, and regional narratives. It discusses the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, with management implications, and the National Hydrography Dataset Plus. It may also be of use for assessment area 8, multiple use.
Authors:Loftus, Andrew J.; Flather, Curtis H. RMRS-GTR-283
Abstract: The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA) of 1974 requires periodic assessments of the status and trends in the Nation's renewable natural resources including fish and other aquatic species and their habitats. Data from a number of sources are used to document trends in habitat quality, populations, resource use, and patterns of imperilment among aquatic fauna. Freshwater habitat quality varied widely across the United States. Nationwide, more than half of monitored lakes were ranked in good condition, but the percentage ranged from a high of 91 percent in the upper Midwest to a low of 1 percent in the Northern Plains. Habitat conditions in monitored small streams indicated that 42 percent were found to be in poor condition. The Southern Appalachians, Southern Plains, and Northern Plains have 50 percent or more of their stream lengths in poor condition. The condition of small stream habitats was best in the Western mountains. Data availability continues to limit comprehensive evaluations of freshwater fish populations. Of the 253 marine fish stocks assessed in 2009, 38 percent were deemed to be overfished or subject to overfishing. Pacific salmon have declined throughout much of their range although stocks native to Alaska have fared better than those in the Pacific Northwest. Species associated with aquatic habitats have higher proportions of species considered to be at-risk of extinction than other species groups. At-risk aquatic species are concentrated in watersheds occurring in the southern Appalachians and the southeastern coastal plain. The number of anglers has declined since the early 1990s. Relationships between land use, water quality, and aquatic species conditions are explored in a series of case studies. The report provides implications of aquatic resource trends for management and planning.
Scope and Scale: National, regional, or state.
Internet Address: http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/41241
Except where noted, definitions are taken from §219.19 "Definitions" of the 2012 Planning Rule.
Ecological conditions that exist at several spatial and temporal scales that provide landscape linkages that permit the exchange of flow, sediments, and nutrients; the daily and seasonal movements of animals within home ranges; the dispersal and genetic interchange between populations; and the long distance range shifts of species, such as in response to climate change.
A spatially explicit, relatively homogeneous unit of the Earth that includes all interacting organisms and elemtns of the abiotic environment within its boundaries. An ecosystem is commonly described in terms of its composition, structure, function, and connectivity.
The biological and physical environment that can affect the diversity of plant and animal communities, the persistence of native species, and the productive capacity of ecological systems. Ecological conditions include habitat and other influences on species and the environment. Examples of ecological conditions include the abundance and distribution of aquatic and terrestrial habitats, connectivity, roads and other structural developments, human uses, and invasive species.
The quality or condition of an ecosystem when its dominant ecological characteristics (for example, composition, structure, function, connectivity, and species composition and diversity) occur within the natural range of variation and can withstand and recover from most perturbations imposed by natural environmental dynamics or human influence.
Inherent capability of the plan area
The ecological capacity or ecological potential of an area characterized by the interrelationship of its physical elements, its climatic regime, and natural disturbances.
Three-dimensional ecotones of interaction that include terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that extend down into the groundwater, up above the canopy, outward across the floodplain, up the near-slopes that drain the water, laterally into the terrestrial ecosystem, and along the water course at variable widths.
Riparian management zone
Portions of a watershed where riparian-dependent resources receive primary emphasis, and for which plans include plan components to maintain or restore riparian functions and ecological functions.
A region or land area drained by a single stream, river, or drainage network; a drainage basin.
Natural range of variation (NRV)
Spatial and temporal variation in ecosystem characteristics under historic disturbance regimes during a reference period. The reference period considered should be sufficiently long to include the full range of variation produced by dominant natural disturbance regimes, often several centuries, for such disturbances as fire and flooding and should also include short-term variation and cycles in climate. "Natural range of variation" (NRV) is a term used synonymously with historic range of variation or range of natural variation. The NRV is a tool for assessing ecological integrity, and does not necessarily constitute a management target or desired condition. The NRV can help identify key structural, functional, compositional, and connectivity characteristics, for which plan components may be important for either maintenance or restoration of such ecological conditions (From Forest Service Handbook draft directives).